Campus protests

Kerala High Court passes interim order banning politics and protests on college campuses

‘Education and politics should not go together,’ the bench said.

The Kerala High Court on Friday passed an interim order banning politics and protests on college campuses. It warned that college authorities have the right to expel students found trying to disrupt the “academic atmosphere” at an institute with any kind of agitation, Live Law reported.

“Education and politics should not go together,” a bench headed by Chief Justice Navaniti Prasad said. “Strikes and satyagrahas should not be allowed on campus. Those who organise strikes should be expelled.”

The court issued the directive after hearing a petition filed by MES College in Malappuram district’s Ponnani, where around six members of the Students’ Federation of India – the student wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) – are on a hunger strike. The institute has sought the court’s intervention to end the protest.

“If they have a legitimate grievance, avenues for ventilating them are legally available,” the court order read. “There is a students council and academic council, and there are courts, including this court, where appropriate grievances can be raised. Dharnas have no place [in colleges] and would only vitiate the academic atmosphere.”

The students began their protest after the Calicut University, under which the institute functions, cancelled the students’ union election, The Indian Express reported. The decision was made after clashes between members of the Students’ Federation of India and the Muslim Students Federation, which is the student wing of the Indian Union Muslim League.

The Kerala High Court will take up the matter next on October 16.

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